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FG says it will set aside over 1.2m metric tonnes of wheat for National Food Reserve

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By Ahmed Rufa’i, Dutse

In its effort to curtail overdependence on importation of Wheat from foreign countries, the federal government has projected to add over 1.2 million metric tonnes to the national food reserve at the end of 2023/2024 dry season wheat farming.

Minister For Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari made the disclosure on Saturday while flagging off the 2023/2024 national Wheat productions policy at Kadume village of Hadejia local government, Jigawa state.

He indicated that over 100,000 hectres would be cultivated this year to limit the country’s dependence on importation of the product.

Senator Abubakar Kyari said over 250, 000 farmers are to benefit from the federal government support to achieve production of over 1,250,000 metric tones across the nation.

The minister explained that, the flagging off of the program is a key activity in the implementation of federal government food security policy.

He noted that 100,000 hectres are targeted under the 2023/2024 national dry season Wheat productions policy, and a special package for 50 percent subsidy was designed for the registered farmers and their cluster.

“The registered farmers will be given free seeds while other inputs will be sold to them at 50 percent subsidy, aims at enhancing their capabilities to implement the program.

“Under the Federal Government policy we want improve our crops yields by 20 percent this year, with Wheat outputs targeted at 400,000, to 500,000 tones. Equally we will gradually continue to improve our irrigation facilities to diversify crops production for achieving food security, Jobs creation, growth and development “.

The Minister commended the commitments demonstrated by Jigawa state government and it’s farmers which proved to federal government that the state is a key and a reliable partner in achieving federal government food security policy, jobs creation and poverty eradication.

In his speech the JIgawa State governor, Malam Umar Namadi has called on the federal government to accelerate the completion of the Hadejia Valley Irrigation Project with potential irrigable area of over 25,000 hectares.

The governor said the area has the capacity to significantly deliver the Food Security objective of President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

Malam Umar Namadi explained that the Hadejia Valley Project, which was initiated by the Late Shagari Administration in the early 1980s, is still less than 25% completed after almost four decades.

According to him “Following a flag-off of the project performed in 2018, it is noteworthy that earlier this year, former President Muhammad Buhari has commissioned the successful completion of a segment of the Project covering about 6,000 hectares”.

The governor maintained that “There is no doubt that has significantly contributed to our quest for food security, job creation, and economic diversification. Despite this significant stride, however, there is still a long way to go considering the Project’s potentials. It is my prayer that the Tinubu Administration will make history by completing the project 100%.”

The governor note that the elaborate flag-off event as blessed by the presence of all these dignitaries underscores the priority attached to the Program which is critical to the attainment of State’s and National Development objectives of food security, economic diversification, and empowerment of the citizens.

He added that as many of us are aware, the Wheat Development Program an integral part of the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu aimed at accelerating the Nation’s drive to achieve food security.

It also perfectly aligns with several aspects of our 12-Point Agenda for Greater Jigawa particularly as it affects food security, economic diversification, job creation, provision of sustainable means of livelihoods for the citizens, and overall poverty reduction.

Accordingly, both the Federal Government and the Government of Jigawa State have accorded a topmost priority to the Program for which all hands would be on deck to ensure its success.

“Over the years, Jigawa State has successfully pursued an Agricultural Transformation Agenda which has significantly contributed to our Nation’s quest for food security and economic diversification”.

Malam Namadi stated further that, “Today, Jigawa State is a leading producer of rice, sesame, and hibiscus among many other crops. One of the resolutions under our 12-Point Agenda is to ensure full exploitation of the Jigawa State’s agricultural potentials through all-year round production by bringing more of our fadama lands under cultivation, gradual expansion of our irrigation facilities, and mobilizing our teeming youths into Agriculture and its entire value chain”.

He emphasized that the Wheat development programme partnership with the Federal Government is in line with state the government’s resolve to sustain progress and build on previous achievements of the agricultural transformation agenda. “It is in line with our objective to sustainably improve the socioeconomic well-being of our citizens.”

“I am also truly delighted by the choice of Jigawa State as the primary focal State for the Wheat Development Program. It is common knowledge that Jigawa State is the heart of wheat production in Nigeria with potential to provide up to 200,000 hectares for wheat production. “

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Makinde tackles Akpabio for dishing out fake news

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Akpabio, Makinde
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***says Akpabio lied as no gov received N30b

Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has taken on Senate President Godswill Akpabio over the fake news he dished out that states got an additional N30 billion each to address food scarcity.

Akpabio had made the comment some days back but at the commissioning of a newly renovated Iseyin Central Mosque provided by an Iseyin-born legal icon Ahmed Raji (SAN), Makinde said Oyo State did not get such funds.

“This is not the time to play politics, as we have real issues that deserve real solutions. But yesterday, I saw the video and read in the news where the Senate President, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, made a statement, though he said it was an unverified report, stating that the state governments received an additional N30 billion from the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, outside of our statutory allocation, in the last few months, to address food security,” Governor Makinde said on Thursday.

“Please, listen to me loud and clear. I can speak for Oyo State and can also speak for any of my colleagues. This is because, as the Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, I know when things are happening.

“If I want to play politics, I will keep quiet and let this slide, but I am not going to let this slide. FIRS cannot give money to any state. It is not possible. All revenues accruing to the country go into the federation account and it is distributed to all tiers of government. The FG does not give states money.

“The money in the federation belongs to all of us; it does not only belong to the Federal Government. So, if the Senate President, who is the number three citizen in this country, could be quoting an unverified report, people are looking at us as leaders. This is the period that we are supposed to give confidence to our people. It is not the period to start playing politics or to start looking for scapegoats.

“We need to engage with our people. If our policies are not working, we need to listen to the people and amend them. So, if the number three citizen had nothing but an unverified report, why did he need to say it?

“Does his statement give confidence to the people or solve the problem of hunger and anger in the land? Let me say it clearly: as for Oyo State and most of my colleagues, there is nothing like N30 billion being given to states for food security and I stand to be challenged.

“Yes, the Federal Government promised the states N5 billion, and out of that, it only gave N2 billion and they are even asking that the N2 billion should be refunded right now.”

Makinde added that his government has been doing its best to mitigate the hardship on residents of the state, having been the first to announce and implement measures to cushion the effect of the hardship through the Sustainable Action for Economic Recovery (SafER).

“This is a very difficult period in our nation’s history because all of us are aware of what we are going through economically. But for us as an administration, I can say we are the first in Nigeria to announce and implement measures on the 9th of June 2023, to cushion the effect of this policy through SAfER.

“We have been doing our bit. And the reason I came here is for us to talk to ourselves and intensify prayers. So, this is one of the edifices through which we can reach God, though we have done our bit.

“We have health insurance for our own people, we gave farm inputs to our farmers but, at this stage, we need to cry to God. For the workers, we have been paying a wage award; N25,000 for workers and N15,000 for pensioners, and we have paid for close to six months.

“Only last week, I announced an extension for another six months so that we can have the time to conclude the discussion on minimum wage. Well, we know there is much to be done and we will continue to do everything within our power to support our people through this hard time,” Makinde added.

“It is the responsibility of the Federal Government to manage the fiscal situation in Nigeria and manage the inflationary trend we have in the country right now. We have been transparent about everything we are doing here and this is the time for us to stay together as a nation to solve the problems we are facing. It is not the time to engage in blame games and propaganda. Hunger and anger are real and, as leaders, we must address them,” the governor said.

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Creative Economy Ministry explore possibility of creating 2 million jobs by 2027

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he Ministry of Art, Culture and the Creative Economy is exploring a framework for financing the development of Nigeria’s creative economy to create twenty million jobs by 2027.

The Minister, Hannatu Musa Musawa made the disclosure at an interaction session with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group NESG in Abuja on Wedneday.
Special adviser on media to the minister Nnekka Ikem Anibeze quoted Musawa to have expressed the optimism to work with the NESG on fund generation and capacity building through which the ministry can contribute 100b to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product by 2030.

“With the support of NESG, the private sector and the right funding mechanism, I think we can do so much to help Nigeria out of the doldrums. The Federal Ministry of Art, Culture and the Creative Economy is the happy place of Nigeria no matter what. This is the sector that Nigerians want to hear about; the art, the films, the music … it is an expression of who we are.

“This is something that we really want to tap into especially now that the whole world is interested in the Nigerian content. With this, we can reposition Nigeria, so we came up with this brilliant initiative, Destination 2030 which is poised to change the narrative of Nigeria.

“The government will work towards producing a conducive environment that encourages growth and private investment to ensure that Nigeria’s cultural influence transcends borders as a brand, and unites Nigerians across all initiatives.

“We need to prove to the administration that the ecosystem can really bring value back. So it is not just about giving to the creatives by investing in them, but by also proving that we can get back the value, all the way down to the grassroots. So, funding for our programs is very key and I would love to share a number of these initiatives and programs with you to see where we can pull the funds from,” Musawa stated.

Earlier, the Nigerian Economic Summit Group led by the facilitator on Tourism, Hospitality, Entertainment, the Creative Economy, and Sports Dr. Ikenna Nwosu, said that NESG will provide technical assistance to the ministry to enable it to attract the funds.
Dr Nwosu also expressed readiness to collaborate with the ministry to update the National Policy on the Creative Industry and also train the ministry’s staff on efficient data collection.

“We discovered that the ministry does not have a National Policy on Creative Economy. It does not have an updated National Policy on Culture. The one they have is since 1988. We don’t have a National Policy to incentivize the sector. There are other sectors that were incentivized by government like the gas and telecommunication to build initiatives and train the operatives in the sector”.

Nwosu pledged support to the Ministry to enable them to carry out its mandate.

“The NESG decided that we must give the Honourable Minister the full complement of our human, technical, and development partner expertise to succeed.

“There is no limit to what she asks us to do . We are at hand to do it on a
24-hour basis and this is a commitment that we have made. We have demonstrated it and will continue to demonstrate it”.

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Niger Protests: Tinubu directs provision of food intervention to curb Shortage

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In his bid checkmate the shortage of food in the country, President Bola Tinubu has directed that a food intervention should be provided

The Minister of Information and National Orientation Muhammed Idris said this at the State House after a meeting of the Presidential Committee on Emergency Food Intervention convened by the Chief of Staff to the President Femi Gbajabiamila.

The gathering is coming against the backdrop of protests in some parts of the country over the rising cost of food and living.
The demonstrations had broken out in Niger and Kano states, prompting calls for urgent action to arrest the spiraling prices of essential food items.

Idris indicated that the government is concerned about what Nigerians are going through and is taking some steps to ensure they get some relief.

The meeting had in attendance the Minister of Agriculture, Abubakar Kyari; Minister of State for Agriculture, Sabi Abdullahi; the Minister of Budget and Planning, Atiku Bagudu; the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Yemi Cardoso among others.

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